Posts Tagged ‘Upset The Rhythm’

Primo!

Aussies Primo! only strengthen their hold on me with the release of their second album for Upset The Rhythm — a cracking burst of post-punk that’s somehow both tightly wound and about to unravel at the same time. The sound is raw, not underproduced by any means, but not shined to please the masses either. The chords whack into the listener, crunching bones like a solid piece of timber broken in two —jagged but effective all the same. Aesthetics aside, the band’s got a good grip of hooks under the hood and they drive Sogni as hard as their last album. The guitars stretch with elasticity, crunch with a crinkle, drive breezily and then stutter-stop with glee. The bass comes atcha from all sides, formidable but still hungry. The band’s sound has space built in and nothing suffocates, even if it dominates. Tack on some three-part harmonies that jostle just a bit atop the whip-crack of drums and the album feels like its been hiding in the stacks for more than a few years.

That’s the real charm, and one that they’d employed on their last album as well. Primo! know their influences and they wear them well. The album could easily slip between the shelf-worn brittleness of Kleenex, Oh-OK, and Pylon but they don’t commit to one corner of the post-punk playground for too long. The sound skips from the pogo-pop of “Machine” to the rubber-legged saunter of “Rolling Stone” and never sounds out of sync with itself. The band shares two members with Aussie upstarts Terry, and there’s certainly a crossover appeal, but they come out like a softer, slyer version of the pop upset created within the confines of Terry. The lowered barriers make it a more sinister sister album to Terry’s last. Once inside the confines of Sogni the band’s no less cutting but they’ve already burrowed under your skin and once they’re in there, its impossible to shake ‘em.




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ES

London quartet Es communicate a caustic brand of post-punk — paint stripped of any excess embellishment and set to rupture the rabble around them. Driven by laser-focused bass lines that don’t play well with their queasy synths, tension threatens to tear each and every track apart before it even reaches the speakers. Add in the vocal drill downs by Maria Cecilia Tedemalm and this record begins to drop a sinister shadow over 2020. The band released an EP a while back on vital underground siphon La Vida Es Un Mus, and their debut, Less of Everything doesn’t let up from the acerbic venom that they laid down in the short form. Guitars recoil from the sun, staggering through disjointed rhythms stricken with angular afflictions gone green around the edges. The drums are driving, but not insistent. The band knows how to play with the knife-edge of uneasiness, creating an environment where at any moment the ground shifts beneath the listener — tempos sideswipe each other, instruments devour one another — but the gleam in their eyes says they’re enjoying the upset.

The band picks at the scabs of the ‘70s, yet that doesn’t mean they don’t share some similarities with their concurrent peers. Shades of Flesh World, Hierophants, Naked on the Vague and even labelmates Sauna Youth (also recorded by Lindsay Corstorphine, behind the boards here) abound. This is dance music for the floor clearers, the kinds who revel in the end of the night noise that DJs seem to employ to get ‘em in the cabs. They seem to enjoy the disjointed dance they create — teeth gnashed but smiling with wicked glee at the corners of their mouths. Upset the Rhythm has a habit of finding the one’s that don’t fit neatly into the boxes genre creates and this year is no different. Es is yet another barbed offering from the label and one well worth sickening the speakers with this week.



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PRIMO! – “Machine”

Another gem out of the Aussie cabal of excellent musicians today. In anticipation of their upcoming second album, PRIMO releases the driving jangler “Machine” — a sandpapered, yet loosely slung bit of post-punk if there ever was one. The band’s seemingly perfected their sound on this one, and it stands as one of the band’s most engaging songs yet. The standout single crackles with life — anchored by the brittle drum snap, worn-in guitars and those four-part harmonies that make it all gel just right. The band pairs the song with a motor-heavy video that has a ‘70s charm. There are plenty of Aussie exports that tend to get overlooked here and PRIMO’s last album got glossed over here, hoping that audiences abroad don’t make the same mistake twice.

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Primo – “Best and Fairest”

So many 2020 stunners on the way and this new track from Aussies Primo is a solid killer. With members of Terry, Constant Mongrel, and Sleeper & Snake in their ranks, the band is already poised for interest around here, but the fact that their last album was a low-key constant on the turntable doesn’t hurt either. Chugging on a meaty strum, “Best and Fairest” draws parallels between life and sports, noting how those who play the game with a moral compass don’t always wind out with the cup at the end. The track picks up where their last LP left off — wound wire basslines, hummable harmonies and that slight twinge of squelch in the background. They pick at the spare end of the post-punk spectrum (Young Marble Giants, Oh-OK, Confetti) but they pull away from the aloofness of those bands just a touch and back towards a softer punch. While parallels between Terry and Primo certainly arise (with two crossover members), in truth Primo are like a complimentary pairing with the band — a fine wine that makes the flippant sneers of Terry wash down nicely. Their sophomore LP, Sogni lands on Upset The Rhythm / Anti-Fade on April 17th.



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Handle – “Punctured Time”

Upset The Rhythm continue to scar the post-punk landscape with a new offering from Manchester trio Handle. “Punctured Time” is a jittery, jaundiced comedown of clatter-pocked noise punk, splattered with spittle and wrecked by rhythm. The band aren’t looking to invoke dance so much as they’re aiming to induce fits. The song pushes and pulls like they wrote songs on the page and then used silly putty transfers to distribute the score for the session. Notes crumble and cramp, disjoint and dislodge. It’s a righteous racket that consumes the tin foil tension and spits it back as brightly colored ball bearings of beat and squirm. The LP lands March 6th.




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Robert Sotelo

Robert Sotelo’s third LP, and his first for skewed pop stable Upset The Rhythm, is both sublimely serene and incessantly itchy. His pop comes on like the warm confines of a sweater that reveals itself to irritate the skin. There’s a squirm to songs like “Mister,” or the title track “Infinite Sprawling” but it doesn’t seem to bother Sotelo. He’s lost in the confines of his mind, locked away from the tether of earthly irritation. The pontifications of Sotelo’s pop are, in fact, comforting. He’s lost like you are. He’s nagged and dogged by the same singularities that give you pause, but he’s confident in his croon and it makes it seem right. But what’s that clanking? It’s off behind the buttery guitars and jangled hooks and it seems to be getting closer. More often than not there’s a buzz, the odd xylophone rhythm, the croak of frogs that sets a track off the path and dipping into the bog on that’s built up around the preserve.

He can cloak a track in amber country hues (“Run”) but it’s still tripping over its own feet and it feels good to know that we’re not alone in our own self-conscious tumble through the cosmos. Rob’s pop falls under the same full-moon sway that past primers like Moon Martin were bound embrace. He’s the outsider, but truthfully, he is all of us. He is dipped in pop, but he’s not comfortable with how deep he’s swum in its waters. His head is spinning with doubt, protracted and distracted. Inside his songs we’re narcotized and enjoying the party, but internally we can’t figure out why that stomach pain is so present, where it came from and what it means. Sotelo’s a master of moods and on Infinite Sprawling he’s captured a corner of the lounge that doesn’t get swept that often. Its’s nice picking through the detritus with him for a while.



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Robert Sotelo – “Mister”

‘Nother good one from Upset the Rhythm runs down the line. Robert Sotelo follows up his 2017 skewed-pop album Cusp with the equally beguiling Infinite Sprawling. The second single from the set, “Mister,” is a fuzz-beset pop-skimmer, slinging twang and jangle in equal helpings. Sotelo plays it straight, but the song’s got a bit of the curdled crowd in its DNA, picking up crumbs from the Deep Freeze Mice and The Soft Boys on the way through the wires. He’s paired the track up with a simple, yet unsettling video that’s cryptic as it is crazy.

Sotelo gives a bit of background behind the meaning of the clip, offering ”The video was made by Iain McCall and translates the lyrics for the song into Bliss Symbols. Iain himself stars in the vid. The song features Joan Sweeney from Current Affairs on vocals also and is about how constant online organisation around your creativity starts to take up more time than the creativity itself (well it kind of is haha)” His sophomore LP is out September 14th, and it’s a jittery shaker well worth your time.



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Kaputt – “Very Satisfied”

New one coming atcha from Upset The Rhythm and as usual its knocked pop on its ass. Kaputt’s “Very Satisfied” is an ode to the comfort of repetition, the strange calm of the mundane rendered exquisite. The lyrics are betrayed by the music, though as Kaputt are fare from rote. They mangle pop, trip it to the ground and roll it into the funhouse mirror. The post-punk bounce, scratches of horns, and nasal delivery slap a copy of Frankenchrist out of your sweaty paws with a handbag packed with the ‘70s ZE Records roster. The band pairs the song with a grotesque video that comes one like Thanksgiving at Troma Studios. Gonna want strap in and twitch for this one, its just the thing to get you going on a Monday morning.

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Trash Kit

I’m honestly not sure how Rachel Aggs keeps up with her pace. After solid LPs from Shopping in the past few years and another from Sacred Paws already this year, she’s reviving the post-punk tussle of Trash Kit this year. The band is one of the first places I’d herd her pleasantly knotted riffs and urgent vocals and with their third LP for UK hotspot Upset The Rhythm, they’re solidifying their place in the pantheon of latter day post-punk pickers. Horizon isn’t the scrappy slap across the face that their early albums embodied. Its still bouncing on a bubble of Afrobeat-knicked guitars and polyrhythmic patterns but there’s a richness this time around. While saxes still squawk like the lingering reminders of Maximum Joy’s perfection, the band’s layering in nodes of beautiful harmonies, melancholy violins, and playful pianos. This isn’t the stockpot output of a band looking to regurgitate pogo powered visions of the past. This is an album informed by post-punk’s progression, reinvention, and deconstruction, but also informed by pop’s need to put it all back in place again.

The record is an intricate sweater, knitted with love, time, and talent, unraveling in the breeze. Its something beautiful being picked at over and over until it finally breaks free and floats to the sky. The record breaks down into repeating patterns —broken glass reflecting again and again in a puddle, each layer no less glittering but just a bit further from reach. Aggs’ guitar has never been threaded so steadily while leaving its edges so smooth. Often she’s got a jagged quality, but there’s no sense that any part of Horizon might cut the listener. Its not dangerous in the traditional sense. There’s not rebellion and rancor like Shopping embody, but here the danger is that the listener might forever become lost in an Escher-like landscape of sound that answers questions with questions as to which way is up or out. Its been a big year for Aggs with this on top of the SP rec, but this is definitely the crowning achievement of her year.



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Terry – “Spud”

Ah bless ‘em there’s a new Terry tune about this morning. The band, fresh off the fallout from their third stunner I’m Terry, has a new 7,” Who’s Terry? and it bangs right in with their jangle-jerked political pop on first cut “Spud.” The band take their sights, suit up and get a ridicule riot in motion for the video, but underneath the Strangelove-ian clip, the band does what they do best – fizz n’ strum with a wink and a nudge and no small amount of catchy quirk. Damn fine janglin’ if you ask me. The single pops ‘round the turntable on July 19th.

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